Expand The Talent Pipeline: Focus On Skills, Not Degrees

Christos Makridis

Why do we do things that we know are problematic and are leading us towards an unsustainable outcome, especially when there’s a better solution that we all know exists?

Unfortunately, a prevailing practice in the marketplace is to hire people based on pedigree, rather than skills. Our youth has been been told so many times that college is a panacea for career progression and flourishing.

And yet, according to 2018 data from the Census Bureau, there are more individuals with ‘some college’ (i.e., ‘college dropouts’) than there are individuals with bachelor’s degrees (28.9 percent compared with 20 percent).

Moreover, the pandemic has made clear that the business-as-usual trajectory in higher education is unsustainable. Boom years diverted our attention from the costs of growing tuition rates and student debt, but the writing is now on the wall as enrollments decline and more students look towards online education.

The White House issued an executive order on June 26 that directs the Federal government to investigate and revise its hiring to prioritize skills, rather than degrees, among prospective candidates. While the mismatch between the demand and supply for talent has long been a problem, these concerns have intensified as unemployment surged at the onset of the pandemic.

The Office of Personnel and Management (OPM), under the leadership of Acting Director Michael Rigas, is charged as a lead operator of the executive order. While traditional degrees can still be used to signal competency, Rigas has emphasized that they will not be used as a necessary factor in the hiring process—skill and the ability to successfully complete the job at hand is ultimately what matters.

Read the original article here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christosmakridis/2020/06/29/expand-the-talent-pipeline-focus-on-skills-not-degrees/#13e2df7a1abe